Fibroids are Smooth Muscle Tumors of the Uterus
Fibroids are benign smooth muscle tumors that are very common in women. These tumors may cause symptoms such as abnormal uterine bleeding, or hypermenorrhea.
If the tumor is of significant size, it may cause pelvic pressure and pain when emptying the bladder or during bowel movements. Sometimes these tumors become large enough that they can be felt in the abdomen.
Surgery is the preferred treatment for fibroids that cause discomfort.
Sometimes a more conservative procedure (myomectomy) is used to retain the uterus and reproductive function. Hysterectomy is commonly performed when large fibroids are causing symptoms. If the fibroids are located outside of the uterine cavity, do not cause any symptoms, and are small enough to allow for easy examination of the ovaries, then they may be left under observation for many years. Fibroids tend to decrease in size after menopause.
The use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy in the menopausal patient does not cause these tumors to grow.